The skies were clear and the sun was shining on a beautiful, crisp day at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium, but eighth-ranked Ursinus College was left feeling a bit gray after 60 minutes of action as senior Blake Gray torched the Bears for five goals to lead No. 9 Gettysburg College to a 13-9 victory in the Centennial Conference opener for both teams Saturday afternoon.
Gettysburg (7-2, 1-0 CC) opened conference play with a victory for the 10th consecutive season and improved to 20-0 all-time against Ursinus (6-1, 0-1 CC), which suffered its first loss of 2019. The Bullets dominated the action through the first three quarters before a late 5-0 run by the Bears.
Gray posted his third hat trick of the season, tying his career high for goals and dishing out an assist. He also scored his 100th career point on his second goal late in the first quarter. Junior Brian Kolen and sophomore Kadin Kightlinger each posted two goals and one assist, while sophomore Jack Fletcher tallied a goal and three assists.
Freshman goalie Scott MacMillan logged nine saves and two ground balls for Gettysburg. Senior defenseman PJ Dettor recorded three caused turnovers and picked up two ground balls, while junior Christian Atalese corralled four ground balls.
Bobby McClure led Ursinus with three goals. Hakan Atillasoy turned in a goal, assist, and two caused turnovers and Peter DeSimone scooped five ground balls. Matt Nunziata logged a dozen saves over the game’s final 46:55.
Gettysburg took control from the outset, winning the opening face-off and posting two shots in the opening 46 seconds. The Bullets scored the game’s first goal on their third attempt as Kolen tickled the twine 1:16 into the game. Following a turnover by the Bears, freshman Kieran Ward fired in a goal to make it 2-0.
Atillasoy scored the first goal for Ursinus just under five minutes into the game and the Bears were poised for another after a penalty on the Bullets less than a minute later. Gettysburg’s man-down defense set a strong tone that would remain throughout the game as MacMillan picked up a save to thwart the extra-man opportunity. The Bears would finish just 1-of-9 on man-up chances in the contest.
Gray picked up his first point on assist to Kolen before dunking home his first goal on a baseline drive just before the possession clock expired with 2:53 left in the quarter. The goal marked the senior’s 100th career point.
McClure pulled Ursinus to 4-2 on the board with a goal early in the second period, but Kightlinger responded with the next two goals for the Bullets, twice scooping the ball on missed shots and firing the rebound back into the cage for a 6-2 lead. Gray tacked on two more goals to give Gettysburg an 8-2 advantage with 4:36 left in the half.
MacMillan picked up a delay of game penalty in the final minutes and was forced to the sideline for 30 seconds, but the Bears were unable to take advantage of the starting goalie’s absence as junior Chris Crowley came up with a big save on a shot by Joe Mecurio.
Gettysburg maintained the upper-hand in the third quarter with the defense holding Ursinus to seven shots and forcing eight turnovers, while the offense put up five more goals. Junior Michael McCormick flipped a shot from the right side into the goal to hand the hosts a 13-4 lead heading into the final stanza.
Nunziata posted five saves in the final quarter to keep the Gettysburg attack at bay, while the Bears steadily chipped away at the lead, eventually posting their only man-up goal of the game on a shot by Ben Goetz with 24 seconds left. MacMillan saved another shot by Goetz to close out the contest.
Gettysburg finished with the edge in shots (50-41) and ground balls (45-33). The teams split 24 face-offs and the Bullets committed six less turnovers (15-21).
The Orange and Blue head to No. 17 Franklin & Marshall (5-3, 1-0 CC) on Wednesday. Game time is 7 p.m. The series dates back to Gettysburg’s first as a varsity program in 1958 and the Bullets lead the Diplomats 38-25.
WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Top-ranked Gettysburg remained undefeated as it cruised past Ursinus College 18-5 in the Centennial Conference opener at Clark Field on Saturday.
Gettysburg (7-0, 1-0 CC) has now won seven of the last eight meetings against Ursinus (1-7, 0-1 CC) by 10 goals or more. The Bullets have also corralled 15 or more goals in back-to-back games.
Junior Liza Barr continues to dominate on the offensive end as she tied the program record, again, with seven assists in a game and added two goals to guide the Bullets with nine points. She also dished out seven assists in the season opener against Messiah College. Senior Lauren Cole scored a season-high four goals, while senior Steph Colson and sophomore Kerry McKeever chipped in two goals and four draw controls each.
Junior Casey Cole logged in four saves and junior Claire Macatee caused three turnovers to lead the Bullets defense.
Bridget Sherry paced the Bears offense with two goals, while Kaci McNeave tossed out three assists.
The Orange and Blue wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Cole registered two of the team’s five goals in the first 10 minutes of action. After McKeever won the draw control, the Bullets marched down to the Bears territory where junior Courtney Patterson took the first shot attempt of the game that went wide. Moments later, Cole posted the first tally 34 seconds in as junior Ella Orzechowski dished her the open look. McKeever, Stokes, and Colson were the other Bullet players to score during the spurt.
Ursinus fought back as they hit back-to-back goals within a roughly three-minute span to make it 5-2 with 17:32 to go.
The Bullets continued to do damage on the offensive end as they collected eight more tallies in the frame, while the defense held Ursinus to just six shots throughout the first half. Hanna Crowley scored the final goal for the Bears off a free position shot with 5:04 on the clock. The Bullets led 13-3 at intermission.
Freshman Caroline Keenaghan, sophomore Lauren Winters, senior Shelby Fragetta, and sophomore Kerry Ullman all turned in their first goal of the season, while junior Maria Nemeth recorded her fourth tally to conclude the Bullets scoring in the second half. The Bears netted two goals in the final frame. One off a free position shot from Bridget Sherry at the 23:00 marker and the last came from Hanna Crowley with 16:03 to go.
Up next for the Bullets is a home date with No. 13 College of New Jersey on Thursday at 5 p.m.